This post was originally titled “Enter the Runt”, and written as an introduction to another blog I used to write in. I adapted this for the Blogfather because it is an origin story that won’t change no matter which of my blog’s I plonk it in, and because I can.
I was born in the late 70s, the first and only one of my siblings to be born in one of those new-fangled government hospitals called KKH. I suspect I was named after 2 entities; I bear the dialect name of a property tycoon based in Katong, and my English name is a cigarette brand. The latter I attributed to my father’s smoking habit, and often would retell the very special can-never-be-re-enacted tale I concocted myself of how my dad was smoking Winstons in the hospital room while I was being delivered.
My first memories of life consisted of:
- climbing the metal gate at our Ang Mo Kio HDB flat,
- standing at the walkway into our living room one random afternoon and peeing on our doormat (while my pants were still on) then screaming for my mummy, and
- writhing around on our granite tiled floor, imagining the walls to be the ground and “resisting gravity” by pushing myself off with my legs from wall to wall, doorway to my mother’s legs, and generally making mopping the floor a less tedious task than it should be (or so I thought).
My father was in immigration. In his heyday, he was placed in a special task force pursuing and arresting illegal immigrants. As age caught up with him, he would retire his pistol and take on promotion after promotion, until the government ran out of positions to promote him to, and created a new position to promote him to (his highest position attained prior to his retirement was that of a “Senior Immigration Inspector – Special Grade”; besides being a royal pain for me to write in forms requesting parental information, the phrase “Special Grade” also raised some eyebrows).
My mother came from a less exciting, albeit rather distressed beginning of her own. She had an abusive mother, who gave her away to an even more abusive foster mother. She peddled cigarettes in and around what is now the Fullerton Hotel, and went home each day with her earnings, all to be kept by her unbiological guardian.
All her life, she only ever dated and loved one man. Fortunately, that was the one thing in her life where she got her way (it helped that my father was a government-sanctioned hooligan at the time).
My parents didn’t get much of an education. My mum never stepped into school a single day in her adolescent life (she took senior citizen English classes when she hit 55, and now bids us farewell in English with confidence, “Bye bye! Take cab! I lubyew!”) and my dad walked out of class the first day of attending his new secondary school (allegedly due to a “misunderstanding” between himself and his form teacher that involved him raising up a chair in “fling” position along the general direction of said teacher).
Their educational background (or lack thereof) never got in the way of providing their children with only the best education Singapore had to offer; my eldest sister is now a practicing lawyer, my second sister has an architecture degree, and my third sister has an MBA, three kids and leads the most stable, normal life among all of us (we suspect she was adopted).
Unfortunately, the buck stops there. Something happened on the way from heaven, and I came out, the boy to carry on the family name, an underachiever, constantly getting “He can do better than this” written in his report cards under the Teacher’s Remarks section, lost in my youth and still trying to find my way to this very day.
I am the Blogfather. This is my story.